How to get the most out of your Tesla/EV in cold weather
Oct 18, 2018 | by Trevor Page
Leaves are falling and the weather is turning colder in the northern part of the continent so I thought it would be a good time to educate new EV drivers.
Most Model 3 owners have recently gotten their cars during the warmer months and haven’t experienced ownership of their EVs in colder weather yet.
A recap of what to watch out for starting with overnight temps starting roughly 10 degrees C (50F):
- Your car will have LIMITED REGEN until the battery warms up. If you charger past 90% you will also have LIMITED REGEN. Keep this in mind while driving as you will need to use the brakes to make up for the regen limitation.
- Your range will decrease significantly (10-30%) due to use of the heater, heated seats, and decreased battery capacity due to temperature. This decrease in range might not be reflected in the computer if you are going on road trips.
- If you see a blue snowflake icon beside the battery icon it’s because it’s been cold-soaked. It will go away once your battery reaches a minimum temperature.
- Supercharging speeds are limited during extremely cold battery temps.
- Preheating your car while plugged in will use shore power and not affect STATE OF CHARGE of the battery.
- Charging the battery warms it up so you can do a little math and calculate a time to start charging overnight and calculate the amperage necessary to finish charging within 30 minutes of the time you expect to leave. Doing this will make sure the battery is warm when you start driving and regen will not be limited.
- When going on a road trip, try to stay at a hotel with a destination charger so the car can slowly charge overnight. If you are staying at a hotel without charging and it will be extremely cold, make sure to supercharge BEFORE you go to the hotel as the car will not supercharge first thing in the morning with a very cold battery.
- Disable mirror auto-fold in the winter. Ice build-up will cause the mirrors to jam up and likely damage them (all cars with folding mirror should do this)
- Use silicone spray to lube the door and window seals to help the glass from sticking to the seals
If you’re not a fan of reading long posts — you can watch the following video on how you can take care of your Tesla Model 3 or any other electric vehicle in the intense cold weather.